History, Society, and Law

SubjectHistory, Society, and Law
Semester3/4 semester
Study programme:Law studies (Master)
Primary language:Slovene

Students are required to have an adequate knowledge of general culture, an adequate familiarity with fundamental events and processes in Slovenian and European history, a suitably wide vocabulary, and a general knowledge of the Slovenian language, in order to be able to follow the lectures, understand the study materials, take part in the tutorial, and produce seminar papers in line with the requirements of meaningful organization of the subject matter, rational substantiation, and logical reasoning. A previous bachelor’s or master’s education in a field of study belonging to the humanities or social sciences is an asset.  

Content :
The History, Society, and Law optional course is complementary to the Philosophy and Religion compulsory course and represents a narrower in-depth exploration of its content. The course is designed as an overview of those ideas in Western culture that had a decisive effect on the emergence and evaluation of different forms of social life, ethical responsibility, justice and law, the establishment of legal institutions and broader social organizations (e.g. states and religious systems). The ideational and methodological starting points are historical hermeneutics and philosophical anthropology of a personalistic direction, which offers a comprehensive view of man as a free, thinking, emotional, social, and spiritual-religious being. In terms of content, the course consists of two intertwined elements: 1. a cultural history element providing an overview of the main movements and representatives of Western political and legal thought: ancient (Plato, Aristotle), medieval (Augustine, Thomas Aquinas), early modern (Kant, Hegel), and (post)modern (Strauss, Derrida, Habermas) philosophy; 2. a social-ethical element providing an overview of the main historical and contemporary discussions of the relations between an individual and life in society, between positive law and ethics, between freedom and responsibility, between society and state, between the public and private spheres, between the secular and the sacral, etc.


Required readings:

  • Brague, Rémi. 2003. Evropa, rimska pot. Celje: Mohorjeva družba.
  • Voegelin, Eric. 2013. Nova politična znanost: uvod. Ljubljana: Inštitut Nove revije.

Recommended readings:

  • Komar, Milan. 2002. Red in misterij. Prev. M. D. Simčič in Z. Simčič. Ljubljana: Študentska založba.
  • Maritain, Jacques. 2002. Človek in država. Prev. C. Toplak. Ljubljana: Študentska založba.
  • Stres, Anton. 1996. Svoboda in pravičnost. Oris politične filozofije. Celje: Mohorjeva družba.
  • Weaver, Richard. 2013. Moč idej. Prev. N. Neubauer. Ljubljana: Inštitut Nove revije.

Objectives and competences:
The main objective of the course is to introduce students to the fundamental theoretical content and historical characteristics of key questions in the field of Western political and legal thought, which discuss multifaceted value relations and practical relations between an individual and society, between freedom and responsibility, etc. This is inextricably linked to the next objective: to familiarize students with the fundamental political, legal, and ethical-philosophical terminology vis-à-vis the principal political, legal, and other schools of thought in the history of European culture. This all leads to the objective of training the students to understand the fundamental political and legal texts, which in turn enables them to acquire an in-depth ideational, cultural, and ethical understanding of past and contemporary times and ideological schools of thought. Thus, the objectives of the course are an indispensable constituent part of forming a broadly educated, ethically conscious and socially responsible legal professional.

General competences

The main general competences for this course are:

1. the ability to consider – and the promotion of considering – ethical values, socially responsible thinking, and critical attitude to events in society in decision-making, regardless of the object of the decision and the level of decision-making;
2. initiative and independence in decision-making;
3. capability of independent work and teamwork in professional activity and scientific research;
4. broadening the students’ general legal horizons with optional courses, which provide a broader awareness that is crucial in establishing quality

Course-specific competences

The main course-specific competences are:

1. the ability to use the fundamental philosophical and legal terminology;
2. the ability to understand and assess past and contemporary ideological schools of thought;
3. the capability to interconnect knowledge from different fields (interdisciplinarity);
4. the capability to place new information and interpretations in the context of the development of the discipline;
5. knowledge of using analysis, synthesis, and prediction of solutions to and effects of phenomena in intercultural communication and international business;
6. an in-depth knowledge of the selected theme and its use in practice.

Intended learning outcomes:

Having passed the exam, the students will, in particular, be able to:

  1. recognize and evaluate the fundamental ideational processes and ideological schools of thought in past and contemporary European political and legal culture;
  2. read and interpret the fundamental texts in the fields of political philosophy, social ethics, and law;
  3. engage in discussions of fundamental past and contemporary political, legal, and ethical schools of thought;
  4. logically and comprehensively develop and express their own political, legal, or ethical viewpoints.

Learning and teaching methods:
The course shall consist of lectures presenting the relevant topics and questions, including their detailed explanation. This shall be complemented by asking questions and engaging in discussions between students and the lecturer as well as among the students themselves. The course shall also include seminar papers or essays, which require students’ personal efforts based on reading and commenting on selected texts.


The requirements for students are divided into two parts: getting a grasp of the content of the prescribed literature for the oral exam and the regular submission of essays (as seminar papers) based on the prescribed study literature or selected political and legal works. It is not possible to take the exam without having submitted the essays.Lecturer's references: